Is China a Market Economy?

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

This week President Donald Trump will meet his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, at the president’s fabulous Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

This will be the pair's first meeting, and they’re gonna have a lot to talk about. Shipping lanes in the South China Sea. Missile tests on the Korean peninsula … serious stuff.

But they’re definitely gonna talk about trade, too. China and the United States share the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world, and our trade in goods is particularly lopsided. We run an approximate goods trade deficit with China of $30 billion every month, and we have for a while. That saps industrial ability and jobs. And Trump took a real tough line on this during the campaign.

One awkward subject that might come up, though, is China’s bid for market-economy status.

Here’s what that is: Under the rules that helped China join the World Trade Organization, the United States (and others) were allowed to themselves determine whether (or not) China ran a “market economy.” Does the government prop up key industries? Are businesses, foreign and domestic, allowed to operate without government interference? That kinda stuff.

China is clearly a non-market economy, and maintaining that status is important, because it allows the United States to fairly ascribe tariffs (when they’re needed) to subsidized Chinese goods.

We wrote about it here a few months back, when the Obama administration left the issue as-is, meaning: China’s status as a non-market economy in the eyes of the U.S. government remains intact.

China really, really wants that status changed. And Trump administration, through the Commerce Department, is expected to soon undertake a review of the status (remember, the Obama White House simply left the status as-is; it didn’t review it).

We welcome a review. Here are the Commerce questions that will be asked:

  • Is China’s currency convertible into the currency of other countries?
  • Are wages of Chinese workers determined by free bargaining between labor and management?
  • Are foreign companies or joint ventures free to make investments in the Chinese market?
  • Is China’s economy free of government ownership and/or control over the means of production?
  • Is China’s economy free of government control over the allocation of resources and price and output decisions of companies?
  • Does China operate on the global trade stage in a transparent manner?

If China can get to “yes” on those questions, its market economy status can be changed. Simple as that.

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Reposted from AAM.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work